The overwhelming reality that Black women are not guaranteed proper assistance when giving birth in a hospital played a major role in Jodie Turner-Smith and Joshua Jackson’s decision to have an at-home birth.
Welcoming their first child together in April, the 33-year-old Queen and Slim actress revealed to British Vogue Magazine the troubling reasoning behind their joint decision.
“We had already decided on a home birth because of concerns about negative birth outcomes for Black women in America,” Jodie shared with the publication. “According to the [CDC], the risk of pregnancy-related deaths is more than three times greater for Black women than for white women, pointing, it seems to me, to systemic racism.”
Their choice to remove hospitals from their birthing plan proved to be helpful.
“We never imagined that in the coming weeks, hospitals around the country would begin restricting who could be present in the birthing rooms, forcing mothers to deliver without the support person or people of their choice,” she shared. “Delivering at home ensured that I had what every single woman deserves to have: full agency in determining my birth support.”
Not only was the couple able to avoid the health risks of entering a public domain during the coronavirus pandemic, but Joshua was also able to tend to his wife during her four-day labor in their Los Angeles home.
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“Early in the morning on my third day of labour, my husband and I shared a quiet moment. I was fatigued and beginning to lose my resolve. Josh ran me a bath, and as I lay in it contracting, I talked to my body and I talked to my daughter. In that moment, he snapped a picture of me. An honest moment of family and togetherness – a husband supporting a wife, our baby still inside me, the sacred process of creating a family.”
The proud husband vowed to never miss a moment during her pregnancy, and he didn’t.
“Both of us had watched our own mothers struggle to raise children without such support. Both of us were determined to create something different for ourselves,” she explained. “He kept saying to me, ‘There’s no part of this that I’m going to miss.’ And there wasn’t.”
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To learn more about how the famous pair welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Janie Jackson, read Jodie’s essay in the September 2020 issue of British Vogue, on newsstands now.
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